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Environmental issues - Essay Example

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Aldo Leopold's 'environmental philosophy' has offered fresh insights into the preservation of the environment. Similarly, Garret Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" has clearly demonstrated the dangers associated with the anthropocentric view of environment. Environmental issues have also given rise to the emergence of 'radical' environmental rights approaches that emphasized the rights of non-human entities. Even when most of these theoretical underpinnings on environment are quite anthropocentric they also underline man’s responsibility to protect the environment and its natural resources to ensure his own survival and existence. It is worthwhile to analyze the conflict between anthropocentric and bio-centric views on environmental protection. While anthropocentrism emphasizes the well-being of humans alone biocentrism take into account the interdependence and well-being of all living things. It has been identified that the preservation of habitats (of animals, birds, and plants) and diverse ecosystems is essential for the maintenance and protection of the ecosystem. The depletion of nonrenewable resources calls for the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle them, find alternatives for them, and to the free market to control conservation. The extinction of various species of animals and plants pose the greatest threat to the balance of the natural environment. However, it is a relief to environmentalists that many world nations have levied legal restrictions on such human activities that would lead to the extinction of various endangered species. The ethicists hold that endangered species have intrinsic value and their extinction would lead to loss of biodiversity that would threaten human survival. From an anthropocentric point of view some other ethicists hold that human beings alone have intrinsic value while biocentrism postulates that one can never undermine the interdependence among all living things leading towards biodiversity. Western religious tradition and Bible have stressed on the anthropocentric views on environment. Bible’s teaching that human beings were created in the image of God and that God has given him dominion over everything else in the world has led many to conclude that humans are superior to nature and nature exists only to satisfy human needs and wants. However, there are alternative views propagated by people like Francis of Assisi on the value of nonhuman creation and the Noah story in Bible offers the best testimony for biocentrism. Garret Hardin, in his "Tragedy of the Commons" uses the analogy of the herdsmen and the common grass to refer to the environmental crisis. The herdsmen make use of the common grass as a bountiful resource until this lead to lack of grass and Hardin points out that the herdsmen’s use of the commons is analogous to humankind’s use of the planet’s shared resources, such as air, waterways, atmosphere, and climate. Hardin postulates that increased use of resources in the long run would make such resources limited. Hardin thus forecasts that indiscriminate use of resources will be catastrophic for the humans as it will lead to their own destruction. It is therefore imperative that man undertakes steps to avert this imminent tragedy awaiting mankind. The two possible solutions offered by Hardin are: government coercion and privatization of some parts of the commons to allow the free market to regulate their use. No doubt, Hardin’s analogy of the tragedy of commons with that of mankind has evoked favorable responses towards the environmental crisis. The environmental debate has also led to questions regarding the environmental rights of nonhuman entities. Kant’s categorical imperative, being anthropocentric, attributes rights ...Show more
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Summary

Environmental issues.
Environmental issues and crises have raised ethical, religious, anthropocentric, bio-centric and Theo-centric debates over man’s treatment of the environment…
Environmental issues
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